Newnan tornado was only the 10th rare EF4 twister in seven decades for Georgia


Friday morning’s EF4 tornado in Coweta County, Georgia, was the strongest tornado to hit the state in almost a decade and only the 10th EF4 or F4 tornado to tear through the state since 1950. An EF5 tornado has never touched down in Georgia.

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Map showing the only 10 EF4 tornadoes that destroyed Georgia. The latest occurred in Newnan on March 26, 2021 in Newnan, Coweta County. Picture via The Weather network

Prior to Friday’s tornado, the most recent EF4 tornado occurred in the 2011 Super Outbreak, which brought hundreds of tornadoes to the Deep South.

Less than 0.5% of tornadoes in Georgia reach “violent” strength, those of EF4 or EF5 magnitude. EF4 tornadoes hit Georgia roughly once in a decade. Most violent tornadoes have occurred early in the year and in the northern portion of the state.

In all, the state has seen more than 2,000 tornadoes since 1950.

Friday’s tornado struck the west-central Georgia community of Newnan, a town of more than 40,000.

EF4 tornadoes are known to level well-constructed homes, throw large objects like boats and cars and remove poorly-constructed buildings from their foundations with winds of 166 to 200 mph.

In Newnan, the tornado totally destroyed homes. The National Weather Service in Atlanta remarked in their storm survey that “this house [shown below] is totally collapsed and gone.” This kind of damage was most likely done by winds of 170 mph. Some homes were partially lifted from their foundations.

newnan ef4 tornado march 2021
Home gone in Newnan, Georgia. Picture: National Weather Service/Atlanta

Many homes in Newnan lost their roofs and nearly every building at Newnan High School sustained damage. In their initial survey, the NWS noted that widespread wind damage corresponding with winds of 111mph or higher was found. Same in Alabama a day before

Dozens of structures sustained major damage with the second stories of several homes being partially or completely removed,” according to NWS Atlanta.

At least one death has resulted from a medical emergency during the severe storm that tracked from eastern Alabama into the Atlanta metro area late Thursday night into early Friday.

Learn more about the various tornado alleys in the US

Tornadoes of this magnitude have caused as many as 18 deaths and average around five deaths in the state since records began in 1950.

An EF5 tornado has never touched down in Georgia. [Weather]

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